Hull beat lacklustre Palace

first_imgMohammed Diame’s third goal in four matches and Nikica Jelavic’s fourth of the season handed Hull their first win since the opening day of the season – 2-0 over a lacklustre Crystal Palace. Mile Jedinak fancied the free-kick but could not find the target. Palace were forced into an early change when Huddlestone’s shot was blocked by Scott Dann, who injured his ankle in the process and had to be replaced by Adrian Mariappa. Hull edged the remainder of the half, though neither side showed much by way of finesse in the final third. Jason Puncheon and Yannick Bolasie both worried Hull with their direct running but the back three largely held up well. For the home side, there was a clear plan to target to full-backs, with Huddlestone’s distribution proving key. Elmohamady harassed Joel Ward on the right, beating his man on several occasions as he searched for Abel Hernandez and Jelavic in the centre. On the opposite flank Robertson was pouring forward and twice blazed wide having found room to shoot. Palace held out for the break, though not before Diame and Hernandez had spurned decent openings. Diame got his angles wrong, dragging across goal after a one-two with Hernandez. With the last attack of the half, the Uruguayan found himself perfectly placed to stroke home Robertson’s cutback only to flash his first-time effort past the post. Palace began the second half with greater intent but found themselves forced back as Hull responded in kind. First Jelavic drilled a free-kick into the wall after more good work by Robertson then Elmohamady bustled past two men on the right and pulled the ball back to the edge of the area. Unfortunately for City Curtis Davies was the man arriving and the defender cleared the crossbar by 10 yards. But the pressure finally told with half an hour to go. Huddlestone and Hernandez had driven Hull forward and when the ball broke for Robertson he curled a wonderful cross into the six-yard box. Diame obliged with a crisp header, continuing his rich vein of form. Neil Warnock’s side were forced into action and finally made 39-year-old goalkeeper Steve Harper work on his return in place of the injured Allan McGregor. Bolasie was the man to do it, unleashing a powerful strike from 30 yards and forcing a smart reaction save as Harper palmed over. But by committing men forward Palace were increasingly open at the back and Jake Livermore sliced them in two with a superb through ball for Jelavic in the 89th minute. The Croatia striker calmly evaded Martin Kelly then deposited his shot into the far corner to seal the points. Senegal midfielder Diame headed home Andy Robertson’s pinpoint cross on the hour mark, settling the Tigers just when it seemed their dominance would bring nothing more than a fourth draw of the campaign, before Jelavic secured the points with a clinical counter-attack at the death. The scoring exploits of both men are proving increasingly crucial to Hull’s prospects, Diame already making a sizeable down payment on his £3.5million transfer fee and Jelavic thriving in his first full season at the KC Stadium. Just as pleasing to Hull boss Steve Bruce will be his side’s clean sheet, also a first since that curtain-raising 1-0 success at QPR. Bruce’s side had shipped 10 goals in their previous four league matches, and another three in the Capital One Cup loss at West Brom, prompting a return to last season’s preferred 3-5-2. That meant James Chester was back at the heart of defence and Hull were certainly a tighter unit for the tactical switch. It also allowed wing-backs Ahmed Elmohamady and Robertson greater freedom to attack and their energy on the flanks was a constant thorn in Palace’s side. The away side, having registered back-to-back wins came back to earth with a bump and had to wait 74 minutes for their first shot on goal. Hull almost caught their opponents cold inside 90 seconds, Tom Huddlestone releasing Elmohamady with a crossfield pass and the Egyptian finding Jelavic in the middle. Jelavic won his header but got underneath it and sent the ball looping over. Elmohamady then invited Palace on at the other end, passing straight to Fraizer Campbell who was bodychecked by Chester as he approached the area. Press Associationlast_img read more

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Reno relieved to escape relegation

first_imgWESTERN BUREAU:It all looked good when Girvon Brown tapped home from close range to give UWI FC a 60th minute lead against FC Reno in yesterday’s Red Stripe Premier League match at the Frome Sports Complex.Although the university team went on to win 2-1, they failed in their objective to land a semi-final spot.The result was equally bittersweet for UWI and FC Reno, the latter, in particular, because of their struggle to avoid relegation, which neither Rivoli United nor Cavalier SC were able to accomplish.It was palpable relief for Michael Graham, the Reno coach, after news filtered through that Cavalier had lost 0-1 to Tivoli Gardens FC.”I can’t tell you how relieved we are to know we are still in the league. We started as planned in this game, but lost our way after not taking advantage of that missed penalty opportunity,” said Graham.”It was a good enough game for us to win, but we just never got that second goal we wanted so badly. I am still grateful because next season will see us in the league,” added Graham.PENALTY SAVEDReno should have opened the scoring when the usually reliable Rondel Morris had his penalty kicked easily saved by national invitee Amal Knight for UWI in the 40th minute.He would regret missing from the spot as Brown was on hand for a simple tap-in at the 60th minute.Reno were again awarded a penalty, but this time the responsibility fell to Afiba Chambers and he found the equaliser in the 62nd minute.Just as Reno were looking at scoring another to take the game away from UWI, the visitors pounced. Anthony Greenland found space at the top of the Reno penalty area and he struck a beautiful curling shot that left the Reno goalkeeper beaten in the 75th minute.Marcus Gayle, UWI’s head coach, was disappointed as 49 points was only good enough for fifth, while Reno’s 34 points was as lucky as it gets, keeping them in tenth place.”Although disappointed at not making the semis, I think it was a terrific, wonderful first season in the league for us. Now we can build on this and become a major force in years to come,” stated Gayle.last_img read more

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